Agri researchers back regional rice initiatives

By Neil Alcober23 September 2017 Global

Asian agriculture research officials have expressed support for the Asean+3 Rice Breeding and Genetics Initiative — a long-term program that aims to address regional food security and national rice sector strategy concerns.

This week’s meeting of the Council for Partnerships on Rice Research in Asia (CORRA) saw officials pledging to endorse the program to their respective agriculture ministries.

They noted that despite progress in some Asian countries, food crises remain a looming threat. Failure to achieve viable solutions by 2030 will adversely affect food supplies for 560 million people, they added.

The Asean+3 Rice Breeding and Genetics Initiative aims to increase the rice varieties available to member countries, raise yields and boost national breeding programs. Member countries, for example, can choose rice varieties adapted to drought, flooding, and salinity brought on by climate change.

“The Asean+3 Rice Breeding and Genetics Initiative was recently endorsed at the Senior Officials Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry held in Singapore in August,” said Matthew Morell, director general of the Los Banos-based International Rice Research Institute.

“[CORRA’s] declaration of support is another positive step in the achievement of South-South cooperation for the regional rice sector,” he added.

This year’s meeting, which was hosted by China, began on Tuesday and ended yesterday, September 22.

CORRA is composed of representatives of national agricultural research and/or extension systems from Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.

The council acts as an advisory board and provides a platform for partnership and collaboration among its members.